Indian medical students fleeing Ukraine demand study places

Indian medical students who have been forced to abandon their studies in Ukraine and seek refuge back home are putting pressure on India’s government to accommodate them in local medical schools, given the growing improbability of their being able to return to Ukrainian universities.

Several buildings, schools, hospitals and other institutions in Ukraine have been demolished or damaged under sustained Russian attack. For example, VN Karazin Kharkiv National University and the Kharkiv National Medical University, among the most popular with foreign students, are in eastern Ukraine, the area worst hit by Russia’s invasion. Classes have been suspended and there is no indication of how or when they will continue.

“Given the unprecedented situation in Ukraine, it may not be practically possible for these medical students to return to their colleges there to continue their studies. The uncertainty is likely to prevail even after the cessation of hostilities and till the restoration of normalcy in their universities,” MK Stalin, chief minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, said in a letter this week to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the prime minister should take up the issue with the National Medical Commission (NMC), which regulates medical education in India, and relevant ministries. Other state chief ministers have written similar letters to the prime minister.

Student campaign group

Medical students constitute a majority of the approximately 18,000-20,000 Indian students who have been studying in Ukraine. China, Russia and Ukraine together account for around 60% of Indian medical students abroad.

The students who have returned from Ukraine have formed a group calling for a more liberal attitude by the government and demanding that they be accommodated in Indian medical colleges.

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